Bangalore: Billionaire Vijay Mallya’s UB Group is set to buy Scotland’s Whyte & Mackay “in a few weeks” to tap the growing market for whisky in India, UB Group Chief Financial Officer Ravi Nedungadi said.
Confirming this news in Bangalore on 20 March, owners of the Scottish brewery, Immerman and Tchenguiz said that Unit United Spirits Ltd. will buy 100% of Whyte & Mackay. Half the purchase will be funded by a loan backed by their own assets while the remainder will be borrowed against $250 mn (Rs1125 crore) of the United Spirits stock.
India’s whisky market which is growing at 10% a year is the fastest wage growth in Asia with a surging demand for uupmarket brands. Mallya’s acquisition would extend a record year for takeovers involving Indian companies.
“Indian companies are getting the confidence to go global,” said Nikhil Vora, an analyst at SSKI Securities Ltd. in Mumbai. “While earnings get diluted in the first couple of years, in the long term it makes sense and is the right way to go.”
United Spirits will sell 66 mn cases of spirits this year in India out of a total forecast of 120 - 130 mn cases. UB plans to acquire all the distilleries and brands of the Scot company, so that their business gets even more extensive.